Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our Guild

My daughter, theater star.

Centuries ago, a family would pass on their business or trade the way folks inherit property today. Though the fashion appears to have fallen out of favor, more than a trace of it remains in our house. Our family biz is not retail or politics but the thespian craft and we are more akin to a service trade. We are like the vaudevillians, starting them young. In utero in fact---I have pictures of all three on stage slowing me down prior to birth—in our house you very nearly are born onstage. And you sure as heck spend most of your first year being lugged about rehearsals. As soon as you can walk you are clear about upstage and downstage and having lived life stage left or stage right, my kids can be confused by mere mortal directions.

I have never pressured the kids to be in theater— in fact its sort of opposite--they resent that I have not buckled down and gotten them agents (they have full page resumes and get paid to work, which when you are 8 should make you pretty happy) I am known to skimp on headshots and they don’t get to audition if I don’t like the script. But I think they really like working hard at something and seeing the results—and getting applause. For them its much easier and more logical than what happens at school. And the social life filled with people with all kinds of backgrounds, of all different ages and types, makes for a lively circle of friends.

While a school and performance schedule are easily arranged, organized sports leagues are not compatible with theatrical careers FYI. And I am not much disturbed by this. I got to do a side by side comparison of being a sports parent and a stage parent in the last week. On Saturday, I spend the day in a freezing cold ice rink, using what was left of my voice to cheer on my speed skating husband and children. The event went on for over six hours and required the participants to get in skates, and out of skates, and eat all manner of prepackaged foods. Two days later, I am back stage chaperoning the same charges (minus the husband) at the opera. You only have to get them into costume once. You still have the prepackaged foods in the form of heat and eat dinners in the canteen. But I was warm. And surrounded by opera singers, SINGING. And it was only about a 3 hour commitment. And did I mention I was warm? I could sit on a nice chair, and not a freezing cold metal bench. I will take stage mom over sports mom in a heartbeat. And so we survive the biblical rainy season, the pending mud season and the longest coldest snowiest winter in the last several decades by burying ourselves in the making of theater and grand opera. Not bad. Not bad….

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